Monday, 21 January 2013

Review: Jagged Alliance Crossfire

Jagged Alliance: Crossfire (JA:C) is a standalone spin-off of Jagged Alliance: Back In Action (JA:BiA), itself an updated reboot of Jagged Alliance 2. JA:C features a new setting, with an all new power stuggle over the fate of a small nation. Players, as usual for the Jagged Alliance series, take command over a small team of mercenaries whose job is to remove a despot from power, for the right amount of money of course.

JA:C takes place in Khanpaa, a small mountainous country, that has been ravaged by civil unrest. Religious and political turmoil has born a broken society and a country ripe for mercenaries to ply their trade. As a mercenary commander, the player is hired to cleanse the countryside of hostile forces and to unseat the local despot from power. Players are given a mission briefing and a wad of cash to start their campaign.

The game starts with players hiring their mercenary team. Each mercenary comes with a price, equipment and personality. Generally, a more expensive mercenary is better trained and comes with advanced starting gear. Players start with limited funds, so choosing an single advanced merc over a small team will need to be considered. As with all Jagged Alliance games, mercs gain experience and skill in the field, and optional mercenaries may join you during the game. Having a balanced mercenary team, with good equipment, opens the path to easy victories.

Gameplay consists of conducting you mercenaries from a top down local map viewpoint. A large overland map is also used to move you mercenaries from area to area. During skirmishes, players direct their mercenary unit into position, hopefully using careful planning and tactics, to rain death onto your enemies. Ambushing, stealth, explosives, night attacks, defensive firing lines and running away are just a few strategies you will probably encounter when playing the game. JA:C uses JA:BiA's real-time and pause "plan and go" system, which allows players to micromanage their mercenaries actions.


My playthrough consisted of a women only "Amazon" party, built to avoid personality conflicts and to improve morale - no lesbo. I found the game to be quite fun as the team sniped and blasted its way through the country side, towns and foes. An added strategical burden was keeping my weapons repaired, as there are few female mercenaries with mechanical ability, no relatively cheap ones anyway. Nevertheless, the further my team pushed into the country the harder the combat became, forcing me to gopher medical and ammunition supplies to the front lines from the secured rear. I was probably advancing too fast for my supplies to keep up.

JA:C is a pretty decent strategy game, but unfortunately it does come with its fair share of bugs. Some engine bugs, left over from JA:BiA, are still present and you'll probably come across a few that nobody else has ever seen before. PC gaming and bugs go hand-in-hand, and some bugs can be overlooked if they don't ruin the overall experience. I think, generally speaking, that the bugs in JA:C aren't show stoppers, but are just generally annoying. If you hate bugs than there is a good chance you'll hate JA:C.

If you love strategy, and can forgive a handful of annoying bugs, I think you can have a wonderful time with this game. It isn't a classic like Jagged Alliance 2, but it's a pretty decent spin-off from the original game.


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